A fundamental challenge with game streaming is that you have to find a way to split your attention between the game you’re playing and the audience you’re entertaining. Being able to manage these disparate tasks is a challenge, but it’s a skill that one can develop with practice.
Introducing friends into the mix divides your attention even further. In the heat of the moment, it’s incredibly easy to forget about your audience as you banter with your friends. While there’s a certain level of communication required for teams to coordinate with one another, a stream where the dialogue only consists of teammates calling out sniper positions or yelling for healing doesn’t make for a great viewing experience.
Even between matches, don’t assume the banter between you and your friends is inherently engaging from a viewer’s perspective. By focusing solely on your group chat, viewers can feel like voyeurs in your gaming session rather than welcome members of the experience. When viewers feel like they’re creeping on you, they’re more likely to leave.
Here are some things you can do to make your squad streams better from a viewer’s perspective!
One of my favourite non-gaming corners of Twitch to visit is the music section. From musicians showcasing their talents, to producers talking shop about the creative process, to DJ sets that give me something to listen to for extended sessions, there’s a lot of entertainment to be had here.
I also think there’s a lot that we as game streamers can learn from music streamers, even if we don’t have a musical bone in our bodies.
What makes for a good streaming overlay? With streaming as a medium still in its infancy, the answer is rapidly-evolving and highly-subjective. Once upon a time, overlays weren’t a thing. Then we moved into a phase where streamers filled the screen with design elements and widgets. These days, the new wave is a larger camera view within your gameplay scene so that viewers get a better view of the streamer.
Furthermore, overlays aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. As one example, I greatly prefer the look of streams that put the camera overtop of full-width gameplay. However, that particular presentation style doesn’t work for speed-runners who display their time splits on the side or for retro games that are presented in a 4:3 aspect ratio.
Based on my experiences of watching Twitch and tinkering with my own overlay, here are aspects of overlay design that I like. There are links to every streamer I reference in case you’re interested in checking them out. I’m by no means an expert on overlay design. Just using this post to share design elements that I appreciate!
Your voice is your most valuable asset as a streamer. No one else in the world sounds exactly like you. No one else has your exact perspective on the world. No one else can share your specific insight on a game or subject. The more you use your voice, the more you will stand out amongst the masses, even if you’re playing the same games as everyone else.
In spite of this power that we all wield, countless streamers under-utilize their voice. They sit silently for minutes at a time, even when some are streaming with the best microphone audio can buy. Considering how first impressions are usually made in seven seconds or less, viewers may be leaving in droves because your silence gives viewers the sense that you’re just another streamer playing a video game with nothing else to offer.
Coming up with stuff to talk about for hours on end is difficult, especially if you’re not the talkative type. Thankfully, there’s a convenient source of material to draw from right in front of your face: the game you’re playing. By narrating and commenting on you’re in-game actions, thought process, and reactions, you’ll almost always have something of value to say. Here are some tips for narrating and commentating like a pro!
Using green screen technology is an awesome way to merge the physical and digital worlds together. For the past few months, I’ve been using a green screen and the chroma key feature in OBS to display a digital slideshow within a physical frame.
Though I love the effect it creates, the technology comes with limitations. Chroma key filters don’t just remove your green screen, they remove everything in view with a close enough shade of green. Your clothes, objects, and lights can all get eaten by the chroma key, which is an awful side effect.
Recently, I have discovered a way to minimize the chroma key’s area of effect. Using this particular setup, you can still wear green or use green lights as long as they don’t overlap with your green screen.
Heads up that this one is a bit messy to implement and it does require you to download a third-party OBS plugin. Also, since this requires a third-party OBS plugin, this trick won’t work in Streamlabs OBS. Sorry! But for OBS users, try this technique to focus the green screen effect to just your green screen!
Rounding off the corners of your camera view is a slick effect one can implement on their stream to stand out. One could achieve this effect in the old days by creating an image mask. Image masks are still great for custom shapes, but there’s an easier way to achieve that effect thanks to an OBS plugin. Here’s how to do it!
By default, your camera feed will appear as a rectangle. But did you know that you can make your camera appear in any shape you want? Yes, it’s possible to just round out the corners, go full-on circle, or any other shape your can imagine. Here’s how you can achieve this look in OBS or Streamlabs OBS!
Stream setups come in all shapes and sizes. Some streamers work with multiple DSLR cameras, a high-end microphone, and a computer that could power a space station. Others make it happen by leveraging the built-in streaming functionality on their consoles. Some excel by broadcasting with only their phone.
Will be the first to admit that it’s a ton of fun talking about streaming tech and adding more tools to my setup. Even so, the value of one’s content isn’t defined by the equipment they have, but what they do with it. People make amazing things happen with lesser gear all the time.
As I continue to develop my streaming setup, I try to remind myself of this truth. My setup has gotten much better in the last year or so but none of this stuff matters if my content isn’t fulfilling to make and isn’t adding value to your life. Here’s what I use to create!
NVIDIA made its first major strides into the streaming world with their new NVENC encoder. Incorporated as part of every graphics card above the 1660, their new NVENC provides streamers with a video encoder that is on par with x264 while freeing up the CPU to handle other tasks.
More recently, they’ve rolled out NVIDIA Broadcast. This free suite of tools aim to improve the presentation of your stream. Let’s try them out!
Do you happen to have a streamer on your Christmas shopping list? While you might want to support them in their hobby, it can be difficult to know what to get them, especially if you’re not a streamer yourself.
If you’re in this predicament, here are a few things that the streamer in your life will truly appreciate!